FAQ

If I join study what will I be expected to do?

To join the study you will first read the consent form that describes the study. Once agreeing to participate, the app will direct you to take an initial measurement of your physiologic responses. The optic sensor at the back of the phone will measure pulse and blood volume changes from your fingertip. We also recommend that you also take your blood pressure using an at home blood pressure monitor (like this A&D blood pressure monitor). You can also use blood pressure values from your last visit to the doctor’s office, if you don’t have access to a blood pressure monitor. If you don’t have a blood pressure monitor or don’t know your blood pressure, that is OK, you can still get feedback on your physiologic responses.

How do I take a blood pressure measurement?

To optimize the quality of the blood pressure recording, we recommend that you take the following steps to minimize movement, which can disrupt the signal.

  1. Sit up straight in a seated position with your arms rested beside you. It is very important that your non-dominant arm is fully supported. You can rest your arm on an armrest or side table.
  2. Your hand should be resting at a 45 degree angle at heart level. We recommend that you place a pillow or another support under the back of your hand.
  3. The Samsung S9 / S9+ / Note9 has a built-in optic sensor on the back of the phone. Once you complete the consent form in the My BP Lab App, you will be directed to take a measurement. Follow the instructions on the screen.
  4. Using your non-dominant hand, gently place the tip of your index finger over the sensor. The sensor should be resting on top of your finger. Do not apply any pressure to the sensor as this may cause noise in the signal. No light should be shining through. Curl your fingers around the phone to hold the phone in place.
  5. The blood pressure measurement will take 20-30 seconds to complete. During the recording, sit as possible and relax. While you are recording avoid moving, talking, or taking deep breaths. The app will display a circular progress tracker during the recording. At the end of the recording, you will either see a completion notification.

I only see percentage changes when I take a blood pressure measurement. How do I see my actual blood pressure values?

The sensor algorithm needs one initial baseline value from a blood pressure machine as a reference value. This blood pressure machine could be an at home one (A&D, Omron), a blood pressure machine from a pharmacy/drug store, or values given to you by a medical professional at a doctor’s visit in the last couple of months. Once you enter those reference value numbers then the app will return systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers. If you do not have any access to a blood pressure machine and do not know you current blood pressure value then the app is still quite useful since you can view the percentage changes in blood pressure over time.

I'm having difficulty getting a good blood pressure reading. How do I improve the signal?

First, check the positioning of your hand. The error may be due to excessive movement. In order to minimize movement, place a pillow under your hand and wrist so that they are fully supported at a 45 degree angle. Additionally, avoid talking, crossing your legs, or taking deep breaths while taking the blood pressure recording.

Try moving the sensor higher on your finger so that the sensor is resting closer to the tip of your finger rather than the pad of your finger. Make sure your finger is fully covering the light.

If you apply pressure to the sensor, it will detect it as movement and you will not get a clear reading. Rest the sensor on your finger and try again.

The temperature of the room or your hand can affect the quality of the signal. Place your finger in a cup of warm water for 15-30 seconds. Dry your finger thoroughly and try again.

Can anyone join the study?

Participants must be 18 years or older to participate and have a Samsung S9 / S9+ / Note9 phone.

I am outside of the United States. Why can't I download the app?

If you are outside of the United States, My BP Lab is not currently available for download. We are working on being able to make this app available globally. This requires approval from every country. As we receive approval, the app will be made available.

Are there any costs to participating?

There are no costs to participating in this research.

Will information about me be kept private?

Your data will be encrypted on your phone. We will replace your name with a random ID number and store your de-identified survey responses on a secure cloud server. We will combine the data from each participant (without names) and analyze it to answer research questions.

Read more about the privacy policy here.

Are there side effects or risks to participating?

There are no side effects from participating. It is possible that using this app will lead to data usage plan expenses. Some people might experience an increase in stress after responding to questions about stress in their lives.

What are the benefits of participating?

As you participate in the study you will receive insights into how you respond to different aspects of your day and how your body responds to different situations and contexts. Weekly “insights” into how your emotion, stress, and body responses will be “unlocked” so the more you participate the more information you will receive and the more accurate your insights will be.

What should I do if I observe blood pressure readings that are high?

The sensor is not a medical device and as such cannot be used for diagnostic purposes. Blood pressure levels rise and fall for a variety of reasons. If you are concerned about your health, stress levels, and/or blood pressure responses you should contact your primary care physician.

Is there contact information?

If you need to contact the study coordinators at UCSF you can email us at bplab@ucsf.edu.

If you are having trouble with the apps functionality or performance, you can contact Sage Bionetworks at android.dev@sagebase.org.

If you have a question regarding your rights as a study participant the contact information for UCSF Institutional Review Board is 415 476 1814.